Priorities: Public Health Council of the Upper Valley
NH and VT continue to have some of the highest rates of alcohol and other drug use and binge use when compared with national averages. Misuse of these substances contributes to numerous community and health concerns, including accidental injuries, overdoses, maternal-child health complications, crime, and poor school/work performance.
The population of older adults in the United States is increasing steadily, and in northern New England, the increase significantly outpaces other regions’ growth. In the 20th century, the “three-legged stool” of pensions, savings, and Social Security helped to sustain older adults after retirement. In the latter part of the 20th century—and certainly today—pensions have become a rare benefit and studies show that as adults move toward retirement, most have saved $50,000 or less.
The Upper Valley, like all communities, faces many threats with the potential for large-scale health consequences, including disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and mass violence. We have seen such threats in the past decade, including ice storms, Hurricane Irene, Slayton Hill flooding, and more.
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada.
Overall, New Hampshire has been getting warmer and wetter over the last century, and the rate of change has increased over the last four decades. Historic trends and climate model forecasts track a broad range of likely outcomes for climate change. Changes in our climate do have impacts on health.
Lead poisoning can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, attention disorders, hyperactivity, behavior problems, and permanently reduce intelligence. Children and pregnant women are at special risk.
Lead poisoning can be prevented when you know what to look for.